April 7th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
14 years ago

The selling of the ex-presidency

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/04/07/ex.presidents/art.pres.gi.jpg caption=" Ex-presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have stayed in the public eye since leaving office."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Shortly before leaving the White House in 1829, John Quincy Adams reportedly said, "There is nothing more pathetic in life than a former president."

If he had had a crystal ball, Adams might have tweaked that statement to say there is nothing more lucrative in life than to be a former president.

Last Friday, we learned that the Clintons have made a whopping $109 million since 2001. Bill Clinton has brought in almost $52 million from speeches generally going for $250,000 a pop.

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Filed under: Politics
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Joe Green

    Hilary has a heck of a consolaton prize whe she decides to drop out:

    1. A nice house in Chappequa NY with no BILL in it.


    3. Free health care for life.

    4. Free Secret Service for life.

    5. The right to say "I told you so" for the next 20 years.

    Sheesh, sounds like a better deal than actually being President!

    I'd jump on that, buy a big-arse yacht and sail around the world. Who needs the Presidency?

    Go for it, Hillary! Hillary Early Retirement in '08!

    All the boomers are doing it, ya know!

    April 7, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Sharon

    People pay for Bill Clinton's speaches and words because he is ADMIRED AND LOVED AROUND THE WORLD.....Plain and simple......

    April 7, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Arkay, MI

    Remind me of what GW Bush was saying in Sept 2007:

    Bush says his first goal when he leaves the U.S. presidency will be to hit the lecture circuit and make the kind of money his father and Bill Clinton have been making, “replenish the ol‘ coffers,” he said. He talks to the author of a new book about making a ridiculous amount of money this way. Quote, “I don‘t know what my dad gets,” he‘s quoted as saying, quote, “but it‘s more than 50, 75. Clinton‘s making a lot of money,” close quote.

    April 7, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Frank

    I wonder what it will take for Americans to vote out liars!

    April 7, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. NoBodybeleivesyouHillaryEvil

    No body is complaining for clinton's making too much money. All we are asking is when did the uncounted 15M came from. Also we need to know How much they made in 2007

    April 7, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Joe Green

    The difference between Reagan, Bush, Carter, and all the others is this:

    Their spouse was not a sitting U.S. Senator with Presidential Ambitions.

    Bills "speaking fees" from foreign governments and large corporations are nothing more than bribes, plain and simple!

    April 7, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Dori in AZ

    Many of our presidents have been honorable people. President Carter has certainly been instrumental in bringing about awareness and positive change for many who were previously ignored or forgotten.

    But, Bill Clinton? Pres. Truman wrote about the prestige and dignity of the office of the presidency. Bill had the prestige, but he had no use for any dignity during the debacle that was the Clinton administration or since! Why do people reward that by buying his books and attending his speeches? Moths to the flame, I guess.

    Si se puede! Obama 2008!

    April 7, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. maynard

    bill cinton is a joke and hillary is a bigger joke.. wake up americans
    if hillary wins the next president will be good old bill again. maybe this time he can do it right and not get caught behind the oval office desk

    April 7, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. MP-Pennsylvania

    Bill lobbied for Dubai in Port deal as ex-president recently. Got money for speeches???

    Super patriot

    April 7, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. Mike

    How many presidents owe only 20% in taxes but pay over 30% like Clinton?

    How many of them gave 10% to charity?

    You can say what you want about the Clintons but they have proved that they have heart and character.

    April 7, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Jazz

    For what the presidential job entails post employment compensation is warranted. Hmmm 109 million over 8yrs is 13 million 625 thousand dollars a year. Hollywood megastars get 20-30 million dollars a PICTURE for being able to look good and speak someone else's words on the big screen. And if there's more than one picture a year.... Which job is harder and more important?

    April 7, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Saad

    Supply and demand theory just like anything else in life.... Their demand is such... and their supply lucrative. But the supply and demand formula is different for each ex-President.

    Referring specifically to Bill, other than the people jealous of him... all will agree that he has the charisma and traits that people want to see/hear.... and he does, and should capitalize on those. But he is also a good man for donating $10.2 of his many millions.

    April 7, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Rafael Richmond Virginia

    Well if you get to be President and live trough it then make the money only after you are out of office. That's what everyone would do in that position. To say they would not is a lie I don't care who you are.

    P.S. Want to write some real news? write about tha olympics games being held in China and how much of human rights they violate. I hope they don't let the torch light up once in San Fransico. Come on liberal looneys from SFO rise up I am with you in this one.


    April 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. shawn

    In the case of Bill Clinton, it is mainly a case of sexual intrigue + power + betrayal = big bucks. Hollywood couldn't write a more titillating script. Bush sr. could never hope to make that kind of cash in any kind of bio.

    April 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Folks............I have the CLINTON burn-out syndrome. They have worn all the voters down and we just do not care anymore. Voters in PA PLEASE keep up the strength and JUST SAY NO!!!! Please stop this bleeding and vote for OBama and let Hillary take her ENDLESS issues and go back to New York. WE are begging you all to be realists and stop this.....next they will try to sew this thing up based on the states who have the majority of women that can hen-peck their husbands enough to vote for Hillary!!! That way she will get the male vote by hook or by crook !!!!!!! Yiu guys that can not make a decision with out your PLEASE man-up and vote how you feel.

    April 7, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Bruce

    It is not just presidents. Cabinet members and other executive branch officials go on to lucrative deals for lobbying firms, as CEO's, as board members, all trading on their access to power.Its a giant gravy train supplied by our tax revenues.

    April 7, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Barb

    Absolutely nothing wrong with accepting money to give a speech!! Motivational speakers are highly paid individuals, why shouldn't an ex-president who did an excellent job be paid as such! Maybe we should put a cap on what anyone is allowed to earn in a life time....if you don't like the sound of that, then you have no argument.

    April 7, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Mckee

    Every thing about the Clintons 're simple deceit and pure tactic self enrichment program-Go from country to country collecting huge some from poor country in the name of Clinton foundation.

    Americans!!! should wake up from slumber..

    April 7, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. AND?????

    I really don't think it's anybodys business as long as they are paying thier taxes and not doing anything illegal. I sure don't want to put my tax returns out there for everybody to comment on. Let's move on to something that matters and really is news.

    April 7, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. Greg

    If someone is as overpaid as Mr. Clinton clearly has been for the past 6 years, it makes me wonder exactly *why* he was being paid so much. It's not like he has ever had anything of value to say. Let alone millions of dollars...sure.

    I agree with Sean that the original statement was correct. Certainly in this particular case.

    Kinda makes you wonder exactly what favors have been promised to foreign nationals for these excessively large "speech" payments. They must be expecting something in return for their money. His words alone aren't worth a dime.

    April 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. kim portland, oregon

    it's also really helpful when you're an oil man, and your son starts a war in the middle east!

    April 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Brian

    And how much did the other make?

    Nope just focus on the Clintons. The media is obessed with them. He really did out maneuver you people for years.

    April 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Gene

    109M.........................BUSH/CLINTON....NAFTA...BUSH/CLINTON.....TAX CUT FOR THE RICHES....


    April 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. John, PA

    Well Well Mr. Bill's at it again.............as if 109 million of that money you got from foreigns due to shady dealings ("speaking events") weren't enough

    April 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. Mark Diplomat

    Oh yes, the Clintons – of the people, by the people, for the people.... but for a price... a hugh price which the nation cannot afford. How disgusting to see this cashing-in at nearly $10 million per year of the post-presidency period. And Hillary and Bill can relate to the average guy or gal in Pennsylvania. Give me a break.

    Perhaps this is why dear Chelsea can afford to canvas the country for Mom and Dad - she certainly doesn't need to get an honest job and work for a living either.

    Wake up PA voters – put Obama over the edge in Pennsylvania and bring this race to a close for the Democrats.

    April 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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